Vancouver extends public plaza drinking program through spring 2025

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Cheers! Vancouver has extended its drinking in public plazas’ program for another year. City council voted this week to extend the program until at least May 14, 2025.

The program was conceived during the COVID-19 lockdowns as a way for urbanites without their own yards to be able to gather and socialize in a safe, comfortable setting.

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The plaza drinking program began with a pilot in 2021. It was extended and expanded to more sites in the ensuing years, and now allows the public to consume alcohol at six year-round plazas or parklets and one seasonal location.

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Council also extended a drinkers’ lounge in a Downtown Eastside parklet that’s operated by the PHS Community Services Society and Vancouver Coastal Health until 2027.

The city has lauded the plazas for “providing residents and visitors with safe, no-cost options where they can socialize, connect and enjoy alcoholic drinks responsibly.”

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says the program is largely successful because of volunteer organizations that agree to oversee it.

“A huge component of the program’s success are the plaza and community stewards who care for these spaces daily,” said Sim in a statement. “I want to extend a personal note of gratitude to the stewards for all that they do to ensure these plazas serve as places for community connection, diverse public life and responsible drinking.”

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Here is a list of the places where alcohol can be consumed and the people who look after them. The sites are unchanged from last year.

YEAR-ROUND (through May 14, 2025)

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• Cambie Street and 17th Avenue (Plaza steward: Cambie Village Business Association).

• Cambie Street and 18th Avenue (Cambie Village Business Association).

• Granville Street and 13th Avenue (South Granville Business Improvement Association).

• Granville Street and 14th Avenue (South Granville Business Improvement Association).

• Lot 19, 855 West Hastings St. (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association).

• Main Street and 21st Avenue (Coco et Olive, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, residents).

SEASONAL (through Oct. 31, 2024)

• Maple Street and 4th Avenue (Kitsilano West 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association).

During high season (May 15 to Oct. 16, 2024), the plazas are open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. In the off-season (Oct. 17 to May 14, 2025), the sites are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The sites were chosen based on being within walking distance to amenities like public washrooms. Where those aren’t available, portable washrooms are installed.

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